Module code: CO7516
The web, as it exists today, primarily supports human understanding and the interpretation of the vast information space it encompasses. However the web was originally designed with a goal to support not only human-human communication but also to enable automated machine processing of data with minimal human intervention.
In this module we will investigate the next generation of the web. The key distinguishing characteristics of this will be the support for and use of semantics in new, more effective, more intelligent, ways of managing information and supporting applications.
The ‘Semantic Web’ is Tim Berners-Lee’s vision of a machine understandable and unambiguously computer interpretable web. The rationale behind such a system is that most of the data currently posted on the web is buried in HTML files suitable for human reading and not for computers to manipulate meaningfully. The Semantic Web, an extension of the current web, can be thought of as a globally linked database where information is given well-defined meaning using metadata for better enabling computers and humans to work in close co-operation. The realisation of a Semantic Web will thus make machine reasoning more ubiquitous and devastatingly powerful, creating an environment where intelligent software agents can roam, carrying out sophisticated tasks for their users.